House effort to force Ex-Im vote to stall in Senate: McConnell aide

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 06, 2015 6:18 PM

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bid by some House Republicans and Democrats to force a vote to revive the U.S. Export-Import Bank is likely to stall in the Senate, leaving the trade bank's supporters to pin last-ditch hopes on attaching it to a Senate transportation bill.

U.S. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, who opposes renewal of trade bank's charter that expired June 30, does not want to take up a stand-alone bill that could result from the House effort, an aide to the Kentucky Republican said.

"The leader has no plans to spend a week or more on this bill he doesn't support," McConnell spokesman Michael Brumas told Reuters.

In July, McConnell allowed an Ex-Im renewal measure to be attached to a six-year highway spending plan approved by the Senate. The provision passed by a strong, 64-29 vote, but the transportation bill was stalled by opposition in the House.

As a result, Ex-Im, which helps finance exports of U.S. goods and services, has been effectively paralyzed for more than three months.

The House effort led by pro-Ex-Im Republican Representative Stephen Fincher would attempt a rarely successful maneuver to force a vote renewing the agency through a "discharge petition" if he can muster a majority of the body's 435 members.

He would need at least 30 Republicans to join 188 Democrats to put the renewal measure to a vote. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has thrown her support behind the effort.

Fincher had about 60 House Republican co-sponsors for his previous Ex-Im renewal and reform bill. Under arcane House rules, the first day the petition can get a vote is Oct. 26.

If Fincher's bid were to succeed on the House floor but stall in the Senate, there still could be an attempt to renew Ex-Im during a negotiation over a highway bill.

(Reporting By David Lawder and Richard Cowan; Editing by Alan Crosby)